Car salesmen are an eclectic bunch. In Lynwood, along a main drag of dealerships, one of the more deplorable types told me it would cost only $200 to install air conditioning in his questionably priced civic coupe.
I reminded him that he was being misleading. In reality the rough average to install AC in a car that’s easy to do so is more in the $1,000 range. Backpedaling, Swindleson McWorkVodka said he meant the compressor for the AC would only cost about $200 from a junkyard. Having landed a hefty body blow, I moved in quickly and asked him how much he would give me for my 1991 Dodge Dynasty.
He scoffed and the delicate dance came to an abrupt end. The Dynasty and I bid him good day. We swung out onto the street and directly back into a Honda dealership that just happened to be next door.
Instantly I was greeted by a seasoned, well-spoken salesman with an Olive Garden “we’re all family here” charm and an ambiguous accent…
But this nightmare creature had the goods: A 1994 Civic Sedan with the LX trim package, meaning it had all the power options; AC, cruise control, the works.
Of all the civics I would visit on my Odyssey, none even came close to how perfect this car was. It ran like brand new thanks to the magical replacement of its timing belt and a folder stuffed full of maintenance records, each paper a tasty piece of mind.
Best of all, this clean-cut sales veteran only wanted $2,600 for it.
His first misstep came when he told me the car had a 1.6L Vtec engine. He was sure of it, even when I told him he was wrong. He was wrong. The1.6L was only featured on EX & SI model 1992-1995 Civics before it became the standard engine for the sixth generation Civic in 1996.
I noted his ardent misinformation and tucked it coyly into my pocket, knowing it would play into my analyzation of his character as the evening progressed. His next blunder was soon to follow. Once we were both sitting inside the car for the test drive, he farted.
It was silent, not boisterous or intended to be comical. Unfortunately it wasn’t the “oops, that’s going to stink a bit like Seafood Portonfino” kind, but the thoroughly noticeable variety that makes your eyes water and your throat swell shut. The kind you can taste.
Worst of all, he knew I knew. On the positive it was only natural I made sure the power windows rolled down properly and the AC blew cold air directly out of them. They did and the car fumigated itself.
“Everything seems to work nicely”, I said, breaking the terrible silence as sales guy’s ass fumes escaped into the cold night.
“Oh yes,” he said, unclenching his thighs and launching into a comfortable sales pitch.
What a champ. Throughout the drive he completely won me over with his honest candor. We spoke of many things. Property taxes, the area, how it had changed, the car, Honda.
Wait, had the fart been planned to make this conversation seem less pretentious? Probably not, but I could tell by the glorious feel of the car it would be a steal for $2,600 and my cogs were turning.
Back at the dealership I sat in the hot seat at the sales desk, itching to pull $2,600 cash from the Dynasty’s glove compartment and slap it down on the Formica. Then, abruptly, stinky got up to retrieve the official offer from his boss. After an odorless albeit suspenseful interlude, he returned and slid a piece of paper across to me, a move that’s as standard as it is cliché.
I asked where the $2,600 number went.
I asked to speak with his boss. Sales guy left again to retrieved him from their Wizard of Oz back room of decision-making.
Boss guy followed his jolly belly out to greet me. He too seemed honest with a bottom line to meet. I convinced him to come take a look at the Dynasty out front, hoping he might take it as a trade-in and knock the price of the Civic down to $3,000.
Bossy admired the Dynasty, calling it an old “K-car,” skirting the topic of money. Actually the Dynasty is not a K car but a derivative of it, officially classified as a C-platform.
What the hell did he think this was, a LeBaron?
Things went down hill rapidly from there. The boss was nice but directed his nostalgic comments about landau tops and the like to the sales guy, excluding me from their happy trip down memory lane. I would have loved to talk about landau tops, having been involved with several in my day.
The boss went back inside, leaving me with the advice I sell the Dynasty on Craigslist. I bid them good day and turned to leave, disenfranchised. Sales guy stopped me half way to the Dynasty…
And asked for the keys to the Civic back.
To be continued. Repeatedly.